Medical Imaging is the cornerstone of precision radiation oncology. Imaging is involved in all steps of the treatment chain, ranging tumor localisation during the preparation phase to real time image guided dose delivery for minimal invasive therapeutic applications, to sophisticated repetitive imaging workflows to account for temporal anatomic variations of the patient or biological changes of the tumor during therapy.
Image guided radiotherapy (IGRT) is thus the technological basis for adaptive radiotherapy (ART), in which inter- and intra- fractional changes trigger treatment plan adaptations. IGRT is a major driving force of innovation and contributed most the success story of radiation oncology during the past two decades.
Our research projects focus on the development tools and methods for image guided and adaptive radiotherapy with the ultimate goal of automated processes. For online adaptive radiotherapy we aim at solutions for both, static and moving targets. Monitoring and online tracking for tumors that are mobile, e.g in the thoracic and abdominal region, is a key topic in our research team. Motion mitigation techniques together with an understanding of changes in the breathing pattern will lead to more conformal treatment strategies for moving targets. Therefore we develop prediction models that correlate the surface and inner motion and thus enable more effective, real time and image based tumor motion surveillance. Reliable image driven and automated workflow for plan adaptation starting from the detection of anatomical changes, re-planning, deformable dose summation and final dose accumulation are the basis for next generation minimal invasive precision radiation oncology.